A pair of games with huge conference and March Madness implications shouldn’t be missed by Iowa sports betting fans.
The No. 15 Hawkeyes (14-6, 8-5) travel to Michigan State (10-7, 4-7) after a top 25 win. Drake will host No. 22 Loyola Chicago.
Iowa vs. Michigan State odds
Saturday’s game is a rematch from Groundhog Day when Iowa beat Michigan State 84-78 in Iowa City. Player-of-the-year candidate Luka Garza finished with a game-high 27 points on 9-of-18 shooting in the first game. Iowa’s reserves added 39 points, 19 rebounds and eight assists against the Spartans.
The Hawkeyes hosted No. 25 Rutgers more recently and came away with a 79-66 win. Joe Wieskamp led the team in scoring with his season-high 26 points.
Coach Fran McCaffery credited the junior after Wednesday night’s game:
“It was one of those complete performances. He made shots when we needed them, he rebounded, he defended and didn’t make mistakes. He was special (Wednesday night), no question.”
Michigan State escaped with a 60-58 home win Tuesday over Penn State. Coach Tom Izzo said:
“You know what? I’m a little disappointed. We had a good eight-10 point lead, and I thought we made some plays that weren’t very good. They made a couple of good plays — that’s a very good basketball team.”
Watch Iowa vs. Michigan at 1:30 p.m. Saturday on Fox.
Will Drake boost at-large chances?
The two biggest games in the Missouri Valley Conference take place in Des Moines on back-to-back days.
Drake hosts the No. 22 Loyola Ramblers, who are remembered for their 2018 Final Four run with team chaplain Sister Jean Delores Schmidt looking on. Now 101 years old, Sister Jean will be a guest Saturday on ESPN’s College GameDay.
The Loyola-Drake game tips at 11 a.m. Saturday on ESPN2. The teams play again Sunday at 2 p.m., also on ESPN2.
Loyola Chicago vs. Drake odds
Drake (10-1 in the MVC) has won 19 of 20 and Loyola (17-3, 12-1) is on a 10-game winning streak.
Joseph Yesufu and Tremell Murphy led the Bulldogs in scoring with 18 points each in a, 80-59 win Wednesday over UNI at the Knapp Center. Drake bounced back with the convincing win after their 18-game winning streak was snapped Sunday at Valparaiso.
Drake coach Darian DeVries told reporters:
“UNI was coming off a win against Indiana State who had won seven in a row. We knew we were going to have to play well to come away with a win. It was a critical game for us to come back and get a win, especially with Loyola coming in this weekend. We needed to get our heads back up.”
The Ramblers swept a pair of home games last weekend, with 68-55 and 69-58 wins over Evansville. Coach Porter Moser said:
“What I love about our team that is going to help us moving forward is that we’ve had some games with huge leads and some games where we’ve had to grind it out to win.”
UNI, Iowa State work toward conference tournaments
Northern Iowa and Iowa State both have home games Saturday as the teams build toward conference tournaments. DraftKings puts UNI at +5000 to reach the Final Four. Iowa State is +7500.
The Cyclones (2-13, 0-10) host Kansas two days after the teams met Thursday in Lawrence. The Jayhawks (14-7, 8-5) crushed Iowa State 97-64.
Saturday’s 2 p.m. game in Ames will be on ABC.
Kansas vs. Iowa State odds
UNI (6-13, 4-9) hopes to shake off its midweek loss to Drake with a pair of games vs. Valparaiso (7-13, 4-7) over the weekend. Saturday’s tip is at 7 p.m. in Cedar Falls.
The game will be streamed on ESPN+. Tipoff is 6 p.m. Sunday, also on ESPN+.
Valparaiso vs. UNI odds
The Crusaders lost at Wednesday at home to Bradley 76-52 in their last outing. Off the court, Valpo announced plans to retire its mascot this week. The university said:
“Crusader imagery related to the Crusades has been embraced and displayed by hate groups including the Ku Klux Klan.” Valparaiso will form a committee to select a new mascot.